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Railroad Stations

The Buildings That Linked the Nation

Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks


David Naylor (Author)

Overview | Contents

A visual feast of images chronicling the history and stylistic character of one of our nation's most iconic building types.

Almost overnight railway lines sprawled across the United States, quickly assuming a key role in America’s rapid growth and development. Linking these lines that crisscrossed the map were the stations themselves, the very centerpieces—physical and metaphorical—of civic and cultural life in America.

They were backdrops to commonplace comings and goings as well as public lecturers and evangelists, rallies and wartime troop movement; outposts of Western settlement; staging grounds for presidential whistle-stop tours; and destinations for a new class of tourists that arose at the turn of the twentieth century. Reflecting a vast range of shapes, styles, and sizes, their architectural diversity defined them nearly as much as their hallowed place in American history.

Organized by region, Railroad Stations: The Buildings That Link the Nation captures all their expressions, from modest to glorious. Here are rugged Western depots, ghost-town stations in the Plains, an art deco masterpiece in Ohio, and grand urban landmarks. Also showcased are related features such as waiting rooms and concourses, some with lavish displays of artwork; elegant details including cornices, cupolas, campaniles, and clock towers; adjacent train sheds and hotels; carriage shops and roadhouses; baggage carts; and much, much more.

In over 600 striking archival plans, drawings, maps, and images—many from panoramic and aerial perspectives, and taken by such noted photographers as Jack Boucher, Jack Delano, and Jet Lowe—the stories of railroad stations big and small are charted, a visual feast of images chronicling the history and stylistic character of one of our nation’s most iconic building types.

An online portfolio showcasing all the images is available for browsing and downloading. The portfolio also offers a direct link to the Library of Congress's online, searchable catalogs and image files.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • November 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73164-4
  • 8.8 × 11.3 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

Railroad Stations is the most comprehensive single published source of images of American railroad stations and is a necessary addition to the library of anyone interested in railroad architecture and the combination of railroad history, architecture, and engineering. I look forward to future additions to this important and unusual series, for which W. W. Norton should be commended.” — APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology

“[I]ndispensable for architecture and transportation collections and a useful reference for others... Highly recommended.” — CHOICE

Railroad Stations is more than just a comprehensive, beautifully-produced, and geographically diverse large format book; its ultimate value is its smooth integration with an online image gallery that offers readers easy access the more than 600 plans, drawings, maps, and images of railroad stations large and small around the United States.” — O-Scale Trains Magazine

“This exhaustive study of American railroad architecture gathers together a great number of archival images, giving the reader a thorough idea as to how the architecture has grown and developed throughout the years.” — Amateur Photographer (UK)

“[A]n extremely comprehensive review....[S]hows far more than mere architectural details.... [A] valuable record of a unique subject.” — Heritage Railway

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